God instructs Moses how to dedicate Aaron and his sons as priests.
“This is how you will ordain Aaron and his sons to their offices, just as I have commanded you. The ordination ceremony will go on for seven days. Each day you must sacrifice a young bull as a sin offering to purify them, making them right with the Lord. Afterward, cleanse the altar by purifying it; make it holy by anointing it with oil. Purify the altar, and consecrate it every day for seven days. After that, the altar will be absolutely holy, and whatever touches it will become holy.
“These are the sacrifices you are to offer regularly on the altar. Each day, offer two lambs that are a year old, one in the morning and the other in the evening. With one of them, offer two quarts of choice flour mixed with one quart of pure oil of pressed olives; also, offer one quart of wine as a liquid offering. Offer the other lamb in the evening, along with the same offerings of flour and wine as in the morning. It will be a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the Lord.
“These burnt offerings are to be made each day from generation to generation. Offer them in the Lord’s presence at the Tabernacle entrance; there I will meet with you and speak with you. I will meet the people of Israel there, in the place made holy by my glorious presence. Yes, I will consecrate the Tabernacle and the altar, and I will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. Then I will live among the people of Israel and be their God, and they will know that I am the Lord their God. I am the one who brought them out of the land of Egypt so that I could live among them. I am the Lord their God.”
Why did these sacrifices involve such detailed rituals? Partly, this helped Israel remember their identity as God’s people. A central form of worship maintained a consistent set of shared beliefs and prevented disunity that could arise from individuals creating their own worship practices. Also, the united practices differentiated the Hebrews from the pagan Canaanites whom they would meet in the Promised Land. By following God’s instructions, the Hebrews could not possibly join the Canaanites in their immoral religious practices.
These rituals also showed Israel that God was serious about his relationship with them by emphasizing his holiness. The priests, the clothes, the Tabernacle, and the sacrifice had to be clean and consecrated, prepared to meet God.
Today we can fall into taking God for granted, rushing into worship, and treating him with almost casual disregard. But the Israelites were reminded that we worship the almighty Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
When you pray or worship, remember Israel’s sacrifices and come before God with reverence and repentance.
Spend some quiet moments reflecting on God’s holiness. Then praise him and thank him for who he is and what he means to you.